Politicizing Tragedy

UT Law prof calls OH school shooting “typical exercise” of the Second Amendment

February 27, 2012

A University of Texas at Austin (UT) law professor called Monday’s school shooting in Chardon, Ohio, a "typical exercise" of the Second Amendment in an Internet post today.

UT professor Calvin Johnson wrote on an email listserv for constitutional law professors, "Another typical exercise of 2d [sic] Amendment rights today." The statement was followed by a link to a New York Times story on Monday’s school shooting in Ohio, which at this time has left a reported four wounded and one dead.

Asked for comment, Johnson further expounded on Second Amendment interpretations:

"The original meaning of the second amendment was to form a better militia," Johnson wrote in an email to the Washington Free Beacon. "Under original meaning, guns fit into miliitias, [sic] and militias are subject to Presidential orders. Disobey the order and you can be shot. That is the real second amendment. The fake one allows high school adolescents to have easy access to the opportunity to work out their fantasies. That is bad originalism."

Johnson has also defended the city of Chicago’s handgun ban, arguing against the Second Amendment as an individual right. The ban was found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Johnson has also argued that it was "quite reasonable" to disregard James Madison’s idea of the right to bear arms as "historical trivia."

According to his faculty web page, Johnson has taught law at UT since 1981, focusing on tax policy. In 2011, he was also a fellow at the Tax Policy Center, a joint program of Urban Institute and Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.

A message at the bottom of emails sent to the listserv reads: "Please note that messages sent to this large list cannot be viewed as private.  Anyone can subscribe to the list and read messages that are posted; people can read the Web archives; and list members can (rightly or wrongly) forward the messages to others."